The Aegean Sea is an elongated bay of the Mediterranean Sea located between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. It covers about 214,000 square kilometers (83,000 square miles) in area. The sea's maximum depth of 3,543 metres (11,624 feet) can be found east of Crete.
Greece has a long history dating back at least to the 8th century B.C. It is considered the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. Greece was the first area in Europe where advanced early civilizations emerged.
From the Neolithic age Asia Minor was the route used by those migrating west from the Near East. They helped spread agriculture to the east coasts of Greece and Crete during the 5th century B.C. and then to the whole of Europe. In the 6th century B.C. the kingdom of Lydia almost expanded to the whole of Asia Minor until it became part of the Persian Empire. After the end of the Greek-Persian wars the cities on the coasts became part of the Athenian-dominated Delian League, which lasted less than a century. In the 4th century B.C. Alexander the Great conquered the peninsula by defeating the Persians. After Alexander's death Asia Minor was ruled by a series of Hellenistic kingdoms which came under Roman control two hundred years later.
The region in the above map is where apostle Paul spent a great deal of time spreading the gospel and where he arguably achieved his greatest missionary successes.
During his second missionary journey (49 to 52 A.D.) apostle Paul evangelized in this region Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Cenchrea and Ephesus. The church in Philippi was the first European church founded by Paul. His third journey (53 to 58 A.D.) had him visiting and (usually) preaching in Ephesus, Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, Assos, Mitylene, Trogyllium, Miletus and Patara. During his fourth missionary journey (60 to 63 A.D.) he landed on the island of Crete (Fair Havens) on his way to Rome to stand trial.